Entry to Austria for tourist purposes not allowed in Austria since Monday, Nov. 22 until December 13. The government uses the word “probably” when referring to Dec. 13.
Thanks for this key update, Emily.
Thank you Emily. I’m scheduled on a river cruise (supposedly Christmas market themed but with no markets open, I question that validity) that ends in Vienna. We’ve been told that by December 1 they will give us an answer as to whether or no it’s a GO. Will there be a re-evaluation of these rules on December 1? Thanks.
As it stands at the moment, the re-evaluation of the COVID restrictions is scheduled for December 3. At that time the decision is expected whether the lockdown will end on December 13 (12am) or will be extended.
Shops, hotels, restaurants, etc. are eager to open, hoping to regain part of the Xmas business at least. Virologists are not fond of this because the lockdown will not have lasted long enough to show significant results.
So the first evaluation is 10 business days not 10 days from Monday’s initial lockdown?
Legally speaking, in Austria any lockdown has a duration of 10 days only, i.e. it will be extended (or suspended) by a special parliamentary committee every ten days (not business days).
Therefore I guess that on December 2 the committee will meet to extend the lockdown until December 13 (12am). In parallel there will be a meeting of the expert panel (consisting of virologists, epidemiologists, etc.) which acts as an advisory board to the government. It is expected - as reported by the media - that at this date it will be announced what will happen from December 13 onwards.
Our trip was to run 3 -13 December. Obviously it is cancelled. I was able to cancel our flights, the hotels and two events with refund/credit.
We lost the cost of train tickets. Austrian Airlines refused to refund the price paid for seat up grades, said their planes are still flying. Lost the trip and lost about $700 (+/-)
I knew it would be a gamble.
Did you book the train tickets online, using the OeBB website? OeBB's general terms exclude any pdf-ticket from cancellation. Nevertheless, you may write to their refund department directly; best to do it in German (use Google Translate). The agents there have some leeway regarding refunding as an act of courtesy, particularly if you tell them that you don't want the money back, but are glad to accept a voucher for booking the trip at a later date because of the current Corona restrictions.
This is the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
My credit cards include a travel cancellation insurance. Maybe you have something similar.
Austrian Airlines is dead set against any refunding, unless there is a germane EU regulation which allows you to threaten them. Austrian Airlines has to deal with several low-cost carriers in Vienna, i.e. they need any penny, coughing up money in only rare cases.
A relation of my wife once wanted to fly from JFK to Vienna for a week, but was refused to board the plane because her passport expiration date was less than 6 months in the future. She lost $1200.
So sad. Another year of cancelled Christmas markets.
Well, hopefully they open back up on December 13.
Our Christmas market river cruise down the Danube was cancelled this afternoon....it is probably for the best since six out of the seven destinations had shut down their markets. I am bummed though..second year in a row...maybe it was not meant to be. :(
Cici, sorry your cruise was cancelled. I'm sure you are feeling very down right now...but it doesn't mean your Christmas cruise or visit to Christmas markets will never happen. Give yourself some grieving time before you make any decisions.
When was your cruise supposed to start if you don't mind my asking? Just wondering how far ahead they cancelled.
Just read on multiple news sources that Austria extended the lockdown for another 10 days, until Dec. 11. I also read that starting Dec. 12 the government "promised to end the lockdown for those vaccinated." Has anyone heard further information, including how this will impact Christmas markets? My husband and I are trying to decide in the next few weeks whether to skip Austria altogether (which we REALLY don't want to).
rsuray- we are slated to stay in Seefeld for Christmas and Salzburg before that. Our AIrbnb host agreed to cancel with full refund today (we were set to arrive on 12/20) bc he said he didn't foresee restaurants and hotels opening up before the first of the year based on buzz in the hospitality industry. He did mention shops MAY open. We are grateful he was thoughtful enough to pass along so we could attempt to make alternate arrangements. It's hard to know where to go anymore as things seem to change daily and equally hard to keep up with all the entry requirements needed for each country we may pass though. If anyone else had plans for Austria and has switched up plans- would love to hear where and why. We are really struggling.
rsuray - The announced lockdown was always understood to last through Dec. 12, despite recently announced formalities. There should be more information today about what happens from Dec. 13 and beyond. There are reports that shops/malls will be allowed to open on Sunday (yes, Sunday) Dec. 19 to make up for some lost shopping time, so that is a good sign. Note - Shops are always, always closed in Austria on Sundays.
Note - Shops are always, always closed in Austria on Sundays.
This is not quite true; it is the general rule, but there are exceptions, though.
In touristic towns and areas shops are open on Sundays ever since. The problem in big cities, particularly Vienna, is the definition of "touristic area". Where does it start, where does it end? Who is entitled to define it? As politics, unions and businesses can't find an agreement (ever since), everything stays closed on Sundays.
In major train stations, at the airport, and in gas stations you can buy groceries and snacks.
And there is one supermarket in Vienna, at least as to my knowledge, which has the permission to open on Sundays, for whatever reason. (SPAR at the corner of Babenbergerstraße and Getreidemarkt, close to the Kunsthistorisches Museum.)
wmt1 , The huge BILLA in Praterstern Bahnhof is also open on Sunday , although it is usually mobbed . Often , when it gets too crowded , the doors are closed until it filters out enough to safely admit more shoppers
Cici- I too, had Christmas Danube trip canceled again. Last year and now this year. I was to be on a plane as of now!!!!
When I said shops, I was not referring to grocery stores. I am referring to shops in malls. To have these open on a Sunday is highly unusual. I don’t think it has ever happened.
Of course grocery stores in train stations are open on Sundays and holidays. That is nothing new.
Wmt1 - there is also the Billa Corso at Neuermarkt which is open on Sundays.